Recently, federal agents searched six Walgreen stores and a distribution center in Florida as part of the federal crackdown on abuse of pain pills. Pain pills are one of the nations’ most serious medical issues, accounting for nearly 15,000 deaths annually-surpassing those deaths resulting from heroin and cocaine combined.
The Walgreen raid draws concern about the search of patient’s records. As part of the search, the federal agents are examining the company’s business records, to determine which customers pay cash for oxycodone prescriptions. The DEA says that a high percentage of customers who pay cash for oxycodone, instead of using insurance, can be a sign of the drugs being sold on the street.
Before the state crack down, Florida was the epicenter for pill mills-one-stop-shops for cash-paying customers to get a prescription written and filled in the same office. Although many pill mills have been closed since the crackdown, the DEA is focusing on cash paying customers in retail stores. This brings up concerns as the government conducts a fishing expedition into the stores and customers records.
Further, the government contends that the pharmacies have a duty to help police regulate and investigate the distribution of highly addictive drugs. The pharmacies are left in the dark on what their alleged duties are to the government, as the DEA has not outlined what exactly it wants these pharmacies to do and does not share information on how to better police the pharmacies.
If you are being investigated by the government, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side to protect your rights during the investigation.